Holidays seems to sneak up on us even though the calendar shows they are coming. Even though the stores market them weeks (or months) in advance. Before we realize, the holidays are upon us again! They seem to come faster than the year before but I assure you there are exactly the same number of weeks each year.
One of the reasons we feel the nigglings of stress instead of joy around a holiday is because we haven’t planned for it. Thanksgiving and Christmas comprise the busiest time of the year for most people because these are two of the largest family together times. With a little planning, you’ll find yourself actually enjoying this time with family and friends instead of running around like a turkey with it’s head cut off.
It’s important to start planning ahead for the holidays months or even a year ahead. At some holiday gatherings the date is set for next year’s party. While some may think it’s overkill to plan this far in advance it can feel good to know the date is something taken care of and is out of the way without any fuss. You don’t have to run around and check with everyone’s calendars if you’ve already selected the date. Choosing the date a year ahead frees everyone to make a choice for a day when everyone will be there. Plan to ask friends and family to “save the date” for next year’s big holiday gathering.
Another part of planning ahead is simply making sure you know how you want to celebrate the holidays. It does not matter who you spend your holidays with. What’s important is how you want to celebrate.
You can create a happy, healthy holiday with anyone you decide. If you don’t have family, you can create what that means to you. The joy comes in spending time with people you love being around. Family doesn’t necessarily mean blood relatives. Any holiday can be a lonely time for someone if they don’t feel like they have anyone to spend the day with or even part of a day. Make the choice of who you want to be with. Spending time with others, even if these people aren’t blood relatives, is part of what makes any holiday special and meaningful.
The Food: To Eat, or Not to Eat
Food often makes up a big part of holiday celebrations. We talk about gorging ourselves on special meals and feasts. We eat foods we rarely eat during other times of the year. Some foods seem best for a specific holiday.
People even feel compelled to eat at every house if you visit whether it’s for a full meal, appetizers, drinks, or light refreshments. You can end up packing on the pounds by eating two huge feasts in one day plus snacks and drinks here and there. For the next holiday get together try to make a few changes that will help to trim your waistline. Small changes will help you honor the new year resolution you made to yourself and aid you in keeping it long term throughout the whole year.
It’s a good idea for the large holiday gatherings to choose one set of family or friends to see this holiday instead of visiting everyone on the same day or week. Spread your visits out, if possible. If you are going to more than one gathering on the same day, make it clear that you’re eating with the Smiths but not with the Joneses. You will probably have to alternate your eating habits so that no one group you spend the holidays with feels left out because you’re not eating with them. If you’re the one planning the meal, then the burden of the calories is on you (in more ways than one). While you probably feel compelled to have all the foods everyone wants to see during the holidays, there are some simple ways to control the calories and offer some healthier versions of everyone’s favorite feast foods.
TIP: When you’re planning dessert, pumpkin pie makes a great choice because pumpkin is very healthy for you. Opt for a healthy homemade version of the dessert made with natural sweeteners, such as agave, stevia or honey for added bonuses in the health department.
While it may be tempting to forget about vegetables with all the other food around, add lots of green leafy vegetables as a bigger part of the meal. When you put a lot of veggies on your plate, you crowd out the not so healthy food choices and you get full at the same time. You also enable your family and friends to get some green into their diets and cut down on calories at the same time. And don’t forget the cranberries! They’re full of antioxidants, which are needed for cellular function at the most basic level. Cranberries pack a healthy punch amidst all those other holiday choices.
Make Time for Exercise
When you think of a nearing holiday you probably don’t want to think of adding even one more thing to your to-do list but you need to. Exercising is vital to staying healthy and balanced during any holiday. Everyone should exercise regularly – at least 30 minutes a day, if possible. Regular exercise should continue year-around even when a holiday season nears and during longer holiday seasons. Avoid skimping on your workouts just because your time feels stretched even more than usual. Believe it or not, you’ll get more done if you take a break and exercise daily. Make this a habit, not just for Thanksgiving or a New Year’s resolution. Exercise is necessary to keep you healthy and alive.
Exercising gets your adrenaline flowing and actually gives you energy, especially if you do it first thing in the morning. It also will help you keep the weight gain to a minimum if you are enjoying all those holiday feasts a little bit too much.
Finding the Holiday Balance You Crave
Everyone needs a little more balance in their life, especially if you’re a professional woman. Constantly feeling pulled in every direction takes its toll on you. If you tend to be the one go-to person for making holiday plans, don’t forget to make time for your regular daily activities of relaxation and renewal. Read your devotions, do practices that nurture your spirit, and take care of your body temple- -, even if you have to get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning. You’ll find that somehow these other activities just fall into place, especially when you’ve taken the time to plan well in advance for them.
Have fun and create some healthy habits around the monthly holidays and celebrations happening all through the year. With a bit of planning you will reduce your stress and bring balance to your life. You will create more joy and trim your waist size during any holiday season or celebration. You won’t even think about New Year’s resolutions because you have formed some good habits beforehand that will make you healthier and happier for a lifetime.
I’m here for you. Take advantage of my 1:1 Consulting to assemble a customized plan with lifestyle modifications for your whole living.